Dementia: Unforgettable

There is only one number of the week after the lovely day I had yesterday:

I arrived in Coventry just as my mum’s Care Home was open for visitors.  I only had an hour at my disposal as lunch had been moved forward to accommodate the evening Christmas Pantomime.

Once I called up YouTube on my phone mum was transformed.  She sang an danced the time away – from her chair of course.  Mum shuffles around these days: it took two carers to move her from her chair onto her walking frame before she could sit with me in the longe where visitors are welcome.

I’m not sure mum knew who I was but that didn’t matter.  She asked me several questions that suggested uncertainty about who this white-haired old fellow was who had come to see her.  On occasions, I thought we might be warned about our behaviour as silence seemed to be the order of the day amongst her fellow residents.  I began to wonder if laughter and joy were being saved for the evening’s festivities when mum would probably be asleep.

The hour came to an end far too quickly but I’m not sure mum would have had the energy for more of our antics.  She almost dropped off a couple of times in between having great fun as she flirted with me fluttering her eyes and making hand signals that had me in stitches as we acted out love songs together.  As I was leaving she asked me if I could take her with me to my house.  I told her a ‘love lie’ that I was on the bus and reassured her I would be back very soon.

My experience at my brother’s Nursing Home was upsetting.  He sat alone in his favourite chair in the Dining Room and hardly responded to my presence.   There were a couple of occasions when it is possible that Bill Haley and Elvis had an impact when he straightened up from his hunched position and gave me a smile.

Any visit to see my brother always raises the same questions.  I wonder if I’m seeing the progression of Alzheimer’s or the side effects of a medication regime that commenced when he was confined to an Acute Mental Health for six months. This is something I will never know but I have my suspicions that antipsychotic medication may have taken its toll on our kid!

The evening entertainment on offer was a sharp contrast to seeing my mum and brother.  My eldest daughter’s children were in great form.  They introduced me to Alexa who they accompanied with singing and imaginative dancing.  Whenever I visit my eldest daughter I am pleased that we encouraged her train as a chef and she didn’t disappoint last night!

It’s always good to finish the day on a positive note and the girls didn’t disappoint.  Seeing Alexa in action reminded me of George Rook’s latest blog where he sings the praises of his new friend.

I’m catching a train to London shortly to meet another one of my daughter’s.  This will be the first time I have seen her since she gained a Master’s Degree in Public Health: celebrations are in order!


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